Jan 16, 2018

Rundle: those Libs in a tizzy about China giving aid are gobsmackingly hypocritical

So the government is worried about China giving out "useless" aid to developing nations. Well, at least China doesn’t bomb countries to rubble before handing out the money.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


The Turnbull government is now so dependent on creating or exploiting xenophobic crises to stay in power that it is fighting internal wars about which ones to prioritise. 

Witness, for example, last week’s sally by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who, as Minister for International Development, has charge over Australia’s miserly global aid contribution.

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45 thoughts on “Rundle: those Libs in a tizzy about China giving aid are gobsmackingly hypocritical

  1. Craig

    Rundle writes, “The IMF! Worrying about debt and interest! Having imposed the ’80s debt bomb and the Washington consensus — three decades of stagnation and extortion whose human cost in lost lives, lost opportunities, will dwarf the crimes of communism”.

    Pardon me?! An estimated 70-100 million deaths in the 20th Century due to Communism and counting….

    1. Marcus Hicks

      ….and your Right Wing propagandist for today will be Craig. Got evidence, or do you simply believe all the BS that your fellow Right Whingers tell you?

    2. Graeski

      I’ve heard some sources put the estimate as high as 70 – 100 million billion trillion.

      After all, if you’re going to make up a number you might as well make it a big one. Costs the same.

      1. Craig

        I’m mean you can literally just go on Google or Google Scholar, if you have the capacity, and research for yourself. Or you could just make glib comments. Up to you really.

        1. Iskandar

          Correspondent Craig, what might be this Communism-thingy that you claim “caused an estimated 70-100 million deaths in the 20th century”? I’ve heard the word bandied about since the McCarthyist witch-hunts of the early 1950’s, and bothered to look it up. For your benefit it is defined as “A theory of social organisation based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership vested in the community or the state”. Not a bad idea really, and may have to be looked at again if humanity is not to destroy the planet and itself during this century.

          To you, it seems, “Communism” is some kind of alien spaceship that flew about zapping people all over the planet for no particular reason. This is patently looney. There is a reason to everything.

          Now, I have lived long and have read history voraciously, and can confidently state that the appalling loss of life during the 20th century was a consequence of its endless industrial-scale imperial wars, not some manifestation of the above theory. Tribal conflicts contributed a little, but the major wars which made up those numbers were capitalist-based wars for empire. The theory of communism arose in the first place as a reaction to the exploitation and inequality of the capitalist system, but only found its political manifestation as a consequence of capitalist imperial wars, not as their cause .

          WWI was the British, French and Russian Empires fighting the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires for control of territory and resources, including the seizure of the territories of the dying Ottoman Empire. We know how that ended. German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian Empires gone, British and French empires survived but weakened, new imperial powers, the USA and Japan, on the rise. The “War to end all wars” was followed a ‘Peace to end all peace” by which Germany soon endeavored to reassert its imperial ambitions, while Russia was in a state of political vacuum in which an attempt was made to build a new society based on the theory of communism. The latter led to an immensely complicated and brutal civil war for which there was no possibility of negotiated settlement, only resolution by force. In spite of her losses and internal issues Russia rebuilt herself as a state to be reckoned with.

          WWII in Europe was a reaction to newly-invigorated and brutal German imperial expansion, while in Asia it was Japanese imperial expansion confronting the British, French, Dutch and American imperial presence in those regions. We know how that ended. British, French, Dutch and Japanese empires soon gone, the American empire dominant. Those Asian countries where European imperial control either ended or was weakened sought to assert their national sovereignty. The theory of communism appealed to them because it was contrary to the capitalist imperialism that had ruled over them, and furthermore incorporated a detailed theory and plan for decolonisation. The American empire resisted this of course. We know what this led to.

          So Correspondent Craig, apologies for this extended historical thumbnail, but this is really how all those millions and millions died. From imperial wars in which the appeal of communism arose as a consequence and an inspiration, not as a cause.

    3. AR

      .. guestimated by whom, craig? Not the usual suspects, the yahoos of hegemonic capital, surely?

      1. jlgintheuk

        “The death toll from the Cultural Revolution is reckoned at between 1 million to 2 million — and that clearly sits atop a mountain of misery, lives wrecked, families destroyed. Seven years before that the Great Leap Forward — an attempt to stage a “people’s industrialisation” and leap past the UK, then the second largest world economy — caused between 25 and 40 million excess deaths, as agriculture was abandoned, and then collapsed for two years, in a favour of a cult of backyard steel making and the like”. (G Rundle 2016)
        Communism vs Maoism, you might have an argument there, but if the numbers are good enough for Guy, they’ll do for this comments section.
        (product of a 2 second Google search)

        1. Iskandar

          Jlgintheuk, what is the point that you are trying to make? Rebuilding a vast and shattered nation from the ruins of its feudal past, enduring civil wars and foreign imperial interventions and invasions, is a messy and immensely complicated business. Mistakes are inevitable, and when the players number in the hundreds of millions, those mistakes are numerically amplified. But it would seem that China has succeeded in sorting itself out and has re-emerged as an economic powerhouse and a regional power. Perhaps you should stop your “ain’t it awful” whining and accept that reality.

          1. Craig

            Easy to say from the comfort of your comfy seat in front of a computer, coffee and muffin at hand. I wonder if you’s still be saying “no use crying over spilt milk” if it was you or your family starved to death or sent for ‘re-education’?

          2. Iskandar

            Craig at 1:28 pm, are you “Jlgintheuk” under a different name? You’re right of course that I’m “comfy” now, but you should know that my family, namely parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lived through a half-century of war, destruction and turmoil in their homelands, and their stories have been passed down to me. Their homelands were southern Russia and Ukraine. My grandmother told me how she met Tsar Nicholas II when he visited her school in Kiev in 1913; her impression of him was that he was a “bolvan” (dolt, blockhead). My great-grandfather and grand-uncle died in the typhus epidemics that followed in the wake of the revolution and civil war when all civil life fell apart. They all knew hunger during the famines of the 1930’s but managed to survive by living in the country where they grew some food and raised a few animals and earned a bit of money by digging peat. My grandfather who was of German-Czech ancestry somehow fell foul of the state in 1938 and was arrested and shot by the NKVD as “an enemy of the people”. He most certainly wasn’t but that’s what happens when a shattered nation is put into a position of having to rebuild itself from scratch. Huge mistakes are made. But rebuild itself it did, so successfully that during the war in Europe she managed, at immense cost, to rip the guts out of the German invaders and drive them back to their lair in Berlin. So Craig, the story of a shattered nation rebuilding itself is something which is very much part of my personal history. What might yours be?

          3. Craig

            Wow, with so much personal history related to murder and dispossession you’d think you would have a little more sympathy than to shrug and say, “shit happens”

          4. jlgintheuk

            Ad hominem.

          5. Iskandar

            Jlgintheuk: “Ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”), short for “argumentum ad hominem”, is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.”

            From your terse comment I’m not sure if you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me. Correspondent Craig began this exchange with a ludicrous assertion about “70-100 million deaths in the 20th Century due to Communism”. I rebutted with some thumbnail history asserting that the death toll in 20th century was due to wars of imperial expansion, which led to the destruction of entire nations, leading to civil wars and the rise of alternative ideologies. Extreme things happen in extreme situations, and nothing is more extreme than war. Craig doesn’t seem to grasp this, avoids the issue and gets personal. So if you are agreeing with me, then thank you.

          6. Craig

            Your reasoning about what caused the rise of Communist regeims may or may not be correct but regardless of how they came to power, they still behaved brutally as a direct result of the ideology of Communism. Mao wasn’t afraid to shed his own people’s blood in order to achieve his ends. Surely there is nobody left who actually thinks Communism is a good idea?

        2. John Hall

          About 3.1 million killed in Vietnam war – mainly civilians. This includes 1956 period when the French were evicted. The Western record in wars should be noted. The invasion of Iraq is also notable in its ‘collateral damage’. The difference is that for China and Russia they were Civil Wars not invasions from outside & were a generally popular move aimed at betterment of the people, acknowledging that the outcomes were bloody and ruthless. Remember that one of the biggest Civil Wars of the 19th Century was conducted in the USA.

  2. ralph

    Beautiful – and this from a Senator who didn’t have to put in a job application for five years, all care of filling a casual vacancy.

  3. paddy

    “the voice from beneath the pith helmet”
    Beautiful work there Guy. 🙂

  4. klewso

    “The only good thing to come out of China is their money!”?
    …… And the IMF on competition – will China’s rates be as usury?

    [Look at the way we ‘helped’ Timor Leste during their negotiations with “us” (on behalf of Woodside) – a year before Air-Con joined their munificent big house?]

  5. Terry Kirk

    Most of the time I agree whole heartedly with Guy Rundle. But I can speak from personal experience here when I say his argument about China in the Pacific is very very wrong. Take Vanuatu for just one example, from the airport runway upgrade extortion, to the monstrosity of a useless “conference centre” on the most valuable land in Port Vila, to a bitumen road on Tanna that misses all the tourism essential resorts nearby but fully services a Chinese “sponsors” house.
    No Mr Rundle. What China is doing in the Pacific is despicable. And it needs to be called out not condoned.

  6. David Coles

    If we are really concerned about the amount of influence China is accruing in the Pacific with its targeted aid program then a more effective response would be to increase our aid program to a reasonable level and work closely with recipients in its delivery. We don’t have to be lousy neighbours.

  7. Reverend Owen

    Thanks Mr. Rundle. When I go for my citizenship interview later this year and they ask me my impression of Australia I’ll tell them it’s a, “white-trash settler nation at one end of Asia”. They’ll probably deport me back to Aberystwyth but it’ll be well worth it.

    1. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

      Check first if Aberystwyth will actually accept you back. Otherwise it might be a ‘mined-out birdshit hideaway somewhere in the Pacific (or Indian, come to think of it)’ for you.

  8. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Ask yourself this question? If China offered to pay for and build a high speed rail service, with terminii, rolling stock et al for zero dollars, except our recognition of one China would the Turnbull Government accept or reject the offer? I think pragmatism would overcome any ethical issues.

  9. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Sorry missed a line out
    Ask yourself this question? If China offered to build a high speed rail service between all State capital cities, with terminii, rolling stock et al, for zero dollars, except our recognition of the One China would the Turnbull Government accept or reject the offer? I think pragmatism would overcome any ethical or xenophobic concerns, or am I mis-judging them?

    1. Rais

      A railway to nowhere PB? We already recognise One China, like the US we have no formal relations with the authorities in Taiwan and only allow them to have a trade and cultural office, not an embassy. Only pretending of course but when your pretence has the force of law you can pretend it’s true.

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